Is Vientiane worth visiting? – find out the answer here

After our one month trip to Myanmar and almost one year around Asia we’ve decided to visit Laos too. We didn’t know much about it and we landed in Vientiane with an open heart and mind.

The plan was to spend one month in Laos before heading to our next destination, South Korea. However, some things happened along the way that made us take the decision to shorten our trip to Laos to a little bit over one week. To find out more about our decision, click here.

Now, let’s get back to Vientiane. It’s not ugly nor beautiful. It’s not boring nor interesting. Everything about this city is average. You can’t really hate it but you can’t love it either. One thing is certain: don’t expect too much from Vientiane, especially if you’ve traveled around Asia before.

For my one day itinerary to Vientiane, click here.

Pha That Luang Temple, Vientiane
Pha That Luang Temple, Vientiane

Although it’s the capital city of Laos, Vientiane lacks the wow factor. The city feels more like a village and even though you’re looking for a more laid-back destination, you’ll still be disappointed by what the city has to offer in terms of tourist attractions.

Is Vientiane worth visiting? Let’s find out the answer!

1. How many days to spend in Vientiane?

As I’ve already said, there’s not much to see in Vientiane. Moreover, all the major tourist attractions are located in the central area of the city so visiting them one after the other is quite easy.

In my opinion, one day is more than enough to explore this city (check out my itinerary). One day in Vientiane is enough to get a glimpse of the city’s vibe before heading deeper inside the country. However, if you are a slow traveler, I recommend staying 2 days.

After visiting Vientiane, I recommend heading to Luang Prabang to see the famous Kuang Si Falls and visit the ethical Mandalao Elephant Sanctuary.

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Is Vientiane worth visiting?
Is Vientiane worth visiting?
Is Vientiane worth visiting?

2. What to visit in Vientiane?

There are a few interesting temples to visit around the city such as Sisaket Temple which is the oldest wat in Vientiane and it houses over 2,000 ceramic and silver Buddha images.

Just a short walk away from this temple sits Haw Phra Kaew. The temple was originally built in 1565 but it has been rebuilt many times since then. The statues outside this temple are quite impressive. I liked walking around this temple and admiring its architecture.

Sisaket Temple, Vientiane
Sisaket Temple
Wat Phra Kaew Temple, Vientiane
Haw Phra Kaew Temple

Take another 15 minutes walk and you will get to the Patuxay Monument. This war monument was built between 1957 and 1968 and is also called the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane.

Patuxai Monument, Vientiane
Patuxai Monument

Probably the most popular tourist attraction in Vientiane is the Pha That Luang. This was actually my favorite attraction in the city as the temple is really well preserved. The 44 meter tall golden stupa is surrounded by several other temples, shrines and statues.

There is a big golden reclining Buddha in one of the gardens which you can’t miss (the biggest reclining Buddha in the world is situated in Myanmar and it has 180 meter –click here to read more about it).

Pha That Luang Temple Vientiane
Pha That Luang Temple
Pha That Luang Temple, Vientiane
Reclining Buddha at Pha That Luang Temple

3. Is Vientiane worth it?

I think the right answer is: it depends. If you are staying just one day and it’s one of your first trips to Asia, you might enjoy it. You can visit the temples, enjoy the local food and get a taste of the local life.

However, if you’ve already traveled extensively around Asia, you might find Vientiane a little bit dull. There’s nothing spectacular about it, the temples are average-looking compared with the ones in Thailand or Myanmar and there’s really not much to do.

4. Where to stay in Vientiane

There are many accommodation options around the city to choose from. I did my best and found the best options for each budget. See my recommendations below.

I think that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. I wasn’t charmed by Vientiane but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you wouldn’t like it. If you’re traveling to Asia for the first time and Vientiane is your first destination, you might actually like it.

Let me know your thoughts about Vientiane in the comments section below. Also, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask me.

May the travel bug bite you!

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Aurelia Teslaru

Aurelia Teslaru is a professional travel blogger and the writer behind Daily Travel Pill. With a 4-year experience as a travel writer and photographer, Aurelia only shares travel guides about destinations that she visited.

She has been to more than 40 countries during the past 10 years and aims to explore 50 countries before turning 30 years old. Aurelia is a digital nomad who transformed her passion for travel into a lifestyle. Read more about her here.

To follow her adventures, check out her Instagram and Facebook pages!

2 Comments

  1. Christopher Dean
    January 31, 2020 / 11:04 am

    Thanks for the great advice!

    My name is Chris and I’ve been teaching in China several years now, so the CNY holiday is my time to explore SEA. I have a few questions for you, if you don’t mind sharing.

    Some quick background info: So I lived in Thailand for 6 months in 2013, therefore I hear you on the beauty and culture there. Nuff said about that. Last year, I explored Vietnam extensively (Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and north of there) as well as Ho Chi Minh in the south). Great country, good food and cheap, too. Most recently now in 2020, for the past 2 weeks I’ve visited Bali, Indonesia and Siam Reap, Cambodia (Angkor Wat) and, I must admit, those two are quite hard to beat. Sadly, however, we didn’t have time to visit the capital, Pnom Penh because as you are probably aware, the temples take a good 3+ days to finish.

    From your info, it sounds like Vientiane is comparable to Pnom Penh; nothing really stands out like BKK or Angkor Wat, but it’s worth checking off my bucket list. Would you say that’s a good assessment?

    Also, what else would you recommend while I dip into Laos for a few days? I considered just doing a few days in Vientiane, then crossing over to Nong Kai, Thailand for the really cool parks they have there. I hear the bus trips to Luang Prabang are terrible, so unless that’s an amazing “must-see” spot, I was going to pass.

    Or should I just do Laos a few days, Thailand 1-2, then fly to Myanmar? I hear Myanmar is worth seeing, but the US Visa cost is now over $100 for some reason.

    I plan on wrapping up my SEA trip by 2/10, then head to S. Korea and Japan for the last week or two, since we have an extended holiday due to the C-virus outbreak.

    Anyway, thanks for your time and any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated!

    Chris
    English Teacher, Pennsylvania, USA

    • Aurelia Teslaru
      Author
      September 9, 2020 / 2:35 pm

      Hi, Thanks for your message! The roads in Laos are indeed terrible. If you only have a few days, I recommend spending a few of them in Vientiane and then head to Myanmar. It’s such a beautiful country and the people there are incredible! You can check out some of my travel guides about Myanmar! I don’t know if your plans still stand during these time but I wish you safe travels!

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